Mt. Elbert, 14,433ft via the Mt Elbert Trail
Note: I was recently reminded of this awesome day almost 4 years ago and decided it needed a bump on the blog. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Elbert looks snowy in a couple of weeks again soon…
Mt Elbert is the highest peak in CO, the highest peak in the rocky mountains, and the 2nd highest peak in the lower 48. Despite this, the mountain is basically a huge hill, so riding a mountain bike down it isn’t just possible, but enjoyable. When Brittany and I skied Elbert just 2 and a half months before, we discussed a return trip to ride down the thing, so that’s what we did. Ski TR
We awoke on Saturday, the 26th to a downpour. We didn’t even try for Elbert, but instead went to Buena Vista to kill time drinking coffee at Bongo Billy’s, hitting the Cottonwood hot springs, and eventually the drive-in theatre. This is what it looked like most of the day:
Sunday looked a bit more promising, and we began pushing our bikes up (there is approx 1 mile of riding on the way up). As some clouds parted and I got a look at the upper elevations, we realized that quite a bit of snow had fallen. I was pretty excited about it, and only got more excited when the clean, crisp, snowy air reached my nostrils and touched my skin. Not dirty old suncups, mind you, but fresh clean snow.
The 4,000 foot climb took just 2 hours and 45 minutes, despite pushing our bikes. We were feeling strong this day.
Brittany on top, needing some warmer clothes:
The north face of La Plata, almost looking skiable:
Me, on the summit, with my Yeti waiting patiently in almost a foot of windblown:
Some shots from the way down:
Singletrack leads all the way past the shores of Twin lakes, far below in the picture (over 6,000 vert)
A bit of air down low:
The trail remains steep and techy all the way down:
Given the continued threatening nature of the weather and a bit of an endo suffered by Brittany, we called it a day at the 4wd trailhead, rather than continuing down to Twin Lakes. There is at least one more rideable route on Mt Elbert, the NE ridge route. Having hiked it as well, I know that it is more technical, but doable.